In Europe, it is estimated that Spanish farmers had an income gain of €65 million ($93.54 million) (1996-2009) thanks to the cultivation of insect-resistant GM maize. A study by the Joint Research Centre (3) showed that this maize increased farm income by up to €122 ($175.57) per hectare, led to higher average yields of 11.8 percent in an area of heavy insect pressure, and resulted in a reduction in insecticide costs by as much as €20.04 ($28.84) per hectare.

Carel du Marchie Sarvaas, EuropaBio’s Director for Green Biotechnology Europe, commented, “Purely in economic terms, a recent study (4) showed that EU farmers are missing out on €440-930 million ($633.22 million - $1338.39 million) each year, simply because they do not have access to the GM crops that could be grown here. This means, as well, that there are other foregone benefits, such as no-till methods, fuel savings, and carbon emissions reductions. There is no question that these crops are beneficial – otherwise, why would 15.4 million farmers around the world continue to plant them?”

1 Brookes, Graham and Peter Barfoot (2011). GM crops: global socio-economic and environmental impacts 1996-2009.
2 Carpenter, Janet (2011). Impacts of GM crops on biodiversity. GM Crops 2:1, 1-17.
3 Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (2008). "Adoption and performance of the first GM crop introduced in EU agriculture: Bt maize in Spain.” Also published in Nature Biotechnology, April 2008
4 Park, Julian, et al. (2011). The Impact of the EU regulatory constraint of transgenic crops on farm income. New Biotechnology.

Additional resources

"No easy fix: Simply using more of everything to produce more food will not work." The Economist Special Report on Feeding the World, February 2011.
ISAAA 2010 Global Status of Commercialised GM crops, February 2011.